Two years ago, in an effort to help his engineering program get international accreditation, Jalal Jalil started teaching an engineering ethics course to fourth-year students at Baghdad’s University of Technology.
One of the student outcomes in the accrediting organization’s standards is related to ethics, says Jalil, who is chair of the energy and renewable energy program in the university’s department of electromechanical engineering.
“I think I was the first to teach engineering ethics in Iraq,” he said. “We already have ethics courses in medicine,” he added, “but nothing like that at engineering faculties.”
Najem Al-Rubaiey, the university’s deputy dean for scientific affairs, is one of Jalil’s colleagues in the project. He noted that Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research had required all universities to work toward gaining accreditation from one of two international quality assurance organizations: the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for science and engineering colleges, or the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) for liberal arts colleges.
“The progress in getting accredited is still not within our expectation, but it is the main focus of the ministry’s current reform plans,” said Al-Rubaiey, who is an assistant professor of petroleum technology.
The ministry’s plan aims to improve Iraqi universities’ academic quality and management processes through working to attain international accreditation. (See a related article, “A Growing Number of Arab Universities Seek International Accreditation,” and an Al-Fanar Media resource that allows readers to search by country for internationally accredited institutions and programs.)
Collaborating With Georgia Tech
In 2020, Jalil submitted a proposal to improve his ethics course to IREX, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that specializes in global education and development.
IREX helped link Jalil with professors at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which is commonly called Georgia Tech and is one of the top research universities in the United States as well as a pioneer in providing advanced degree programs online.